C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Surinder Singh elected Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Mr Surinder Singh was elected as Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of the city here today. The house voted Mrs Shyama Negi as the Senior Deputy Mayor and Mr Harmohinder Singh Lucky as the Deputy Mayor.

Despite minor hiccups, the final result meant a clean sweep for the Congress.

Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner of the Corporation, oversaw the election process. Mr S.K. Setia, the Secretary, conducted the poll. Maj Gen A.S. Kahlon, a nominated councillor, chaired the election of the Mayor.

During polling for the post of the Mayor, Mrs Pushpa Sharma, a former Senior Deputy Mayor, made a faux pas when she moved towards her seat with the ballot paper without casting her vote. This was objected to by Mrs Kamla Sharma, the BJP candidate for the post of the Mayor.

Mr Surinder Singh won by securing 18 votes out of the 28 cast on the occasion. Mrs Kamla Sharma secured three votes while Mr Jitender Bhatia of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch secured seven.

Mr C.K. Sawhney and Brig Sant Singh, both nominated councillors, did not participate in the election.

Mrs Shyama Negi polled 21 votes against seven polled by Mr Rajesh Gupta of the BJP for the post of the Senior Deputy Mayor. Going for the Congress got tough in election to the post of the Deputy Mayor which witnessed a contest between Mr Lucky and Mr Vijay Rana of the CVM. Mr Lucky polled 14 against 13 polled by Mr Rana. One vote was invalid.

In the election to the post of the Deputy Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor, also made a faux pas when he signed the paper and moved to the poling booth without his ballot paper. There was a mild laughter in the hall.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, also participated in the elections as a member of the house.

Addressing a press conference later, Mr Surinder Singh said: “My first priority will be to make all plans time bound for implementation. I don’t want inordinate delays to hamper the corporation work.”

The Mayor said: “I have decided to take the concerned area councillors into confidence for all development or repair works. I am also clear that the work in the wards of the city has to be above party lines. All round development with the help of the local member of Parliament is my agenda.”

When questioned about the inner party differences as was evident from the polling pattern, particularly for the post of the Deputy Mayor, the Mayor said: “I am addressing the conference in the capacity of a Mayor and will not like to address the question”. He also said that “I will work for better communication between the administration and the corporation. I am also confident about maintaining cordial relations with the officials in the corporation”

Mr Surinder Singh joined the Youth Congress in 1971, worked with various welfare associations and also served on different posts in the rural and the district Congress.



Lucky win for Lucky
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Mr Harmohinder Singh Lucky had a tense face and was biting his nails anxiously when the counting of votes for the post of the Deputy Mayor was on in the inhouse elections to the post in the Municipal Corporation here today.

He surely had all the reasons because in a direct contest with Mr Vijay Rana of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, the Congress councillor saw the votes being equally transferred in the two trays in full public view. He did win but only with the margin of a single vote.

The final score was 14 by Lucky against 13 by Mr Rana. It is also worth mentioning that one vote was tendered invalid because it was blank.

Things would have appeared normal if both the candidates were contesting independently. Mr Lucky belongs to the ruling party with an absolute majority in the House. Congress has 16 seats, including Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament. He secured only 14 votes which means at least two have not polled from the same party. Sources pointed out that at least three nominated councillors have voted for the Congress and one was invalid, which means more people from the ruling party have shifted their alliance for this seat.

Mr Surinder Singh, the new Mayor, when questioned about the inner party differences said he will not like to address the issue of his political party while he was in the chair of the Mayor.

Mr Lucky said: “I had a providential escape. I accept the inner party differences and am sure about the names of those who deserted the party commitment for my post. I think I even know the person who cast the blank vote. The matter will be handled later at the party level. I don’t want to name anyone at the moment”.

It may be remembered that the name of Lucky was not there in the original list of the proposed names.

Mr Chandermukhi was proposed as the Senior Deputy Mayor which he declined to accept, leading to the entry of Mr Lucky in the list of candidates for the posts.



Stork brings New Year gift to many couples
Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Stork visited Malti Devi and Harinder Singh of Dapar village in Patiala on the New Year night as the first new year baby, was delivered to the couple. Smiles replaced anxiety as the nurse announced the arrival of the baby at 12:33 am to the family members waiting outside the labour room of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

26 babies born

A total of 26 babies were born on the first day of the year at the three hospitals — PGIMER, GH-16 and GMCH-32.

Elated with the birth of their first child, Malti “Our only prayer was that the baby should be healthy and well.”

And, of course, there were other couples similarly blessed on New Year’s night. At PGIMER, just after the clock had ushered in the New Year, Akbar Ali of Malakpur in Pinjore became a proud father of a boy at 12:56 am.

At Government Hospital, Sector 16, Mauli Jagran resident, Almelu, gave birth to the first baby girl of the year. “This is my second baby and I am happy. I haven’t yet decided on a name for her but I know she’s beautiful,” Almelu said.

Interestingly, girls “outshone” the boys at GH-16 where girls were born to three couples against one boy of the four deliveries which happened there. The PGIMER, in contrast saw the birth of three boys and one girl while boys “dominated” day one of the New Year at GMCH-32 also where six boys and one girl were born from midnight till today evening.

For Morinda residents Ranjeet Kaur and her husband Harwinder Singh, the new year began on a happy note. “We wanted a girl because we already have a son. My daughter was born at 1:25 am last night. Holding her was a dream realised for us,” she stated. While 10 normal deliveries took place, two Caesarean babies were born at the hospital.

The first twins of the year were born to Jasbir Kaur and Gurbax Singh of Patiala who had chosen the PGI for the delivery of their two bundles of joy. The New Year gave these parents and many more a reason to smile—relieving the pain and ushering in cheer with the advent of 2006. Their celebration of a new life and a new role begun in the midst of a lot of rejoicing and celebration.



2 killed, 7 hurt in road accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 1
A 30-year-old woman and her five-year-old daughter died and seven other members of their family, including three children and as many women, were injured in an accident that took place on the Mohali- Ropar road this morning.

The family belonging to Dashmesh Nagar Ropar was travelling in Esteem car from Ropar to Mohali to attend a function here. The car was reportedly hit by a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction near the Sahora bus stand near Kharar.

While Jashan (5) and her mother Ranbir Kaur (30) died on the spot, seven members of the family received grievous injuries and were rushed to the Kharar Civil Hospital. Pritpal Singh (40), who was driving the car and Sukhpal Kaur (12) were in a critical condition and were referred to the PGI.

Amarjit Kaur (65), Mahinder Singh (50), Jasbir Kaur (30), Gagandeep Kaur (10) and Parampreet Singh (5) are admitted to Kharar Civil Hospital.

According to the sources five sustained fractures two injured have been shifted to the PGI with serious head injuries.

The police has booked the driver of the truck for causing death due to negligence.

According to ASI Kulwant Singh, who reached the accident spot first, said the truck driver had abandoned on the spot and ran away.

The police said the accident took place when the car was trying to overtake a stationary bus outside the Sahora bus stand and the truck coming from the opposite direction hit it. The jam-packed car was at a slow speed but was virtually crushed due to the impact.



Land allotment to Wipro approved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Chandigarh Administration has approved the allotment of 30 acres of land to Wipro Technologies Limited in the second phase of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP). Wipro will become the main anchor Company of the second phase of the RGCTP, Infosys Technologies is the main anchor company of Phase I.

Gen S.F. Rodrigues (Retd) Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, approved the allotment as per the Chandigarh Information Services Park Rules to Wipro, which is one of the top three software companies in India (along with TCS and Infosys).

According to Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, the second phase of the RGCTP consists of 125 acres of land for IT companies, comprising about 70 acres of allotable area and large green spaces.

The Technology Habitat being developed by the Administration through the Chandigarh Housing Board consists of another 125 Acres of non-IT facilities. This is in addition to the 123 acres of land which is already part of the RGCTP Phase I and which has already been allotted to 10 IT companies, including Infosys and also to DLF Infocity Chandigarh Limited as the developer of the Ready Built space.

Mr Sandhu said that basic infrastructure for the second phase is being developed by the Engineering Department of the Administration and would be ready by June. This would include sewerage, roads, stormwater drainage, power supply and street lighting.

Phase III of the RGCTP is also being planned over another 250 acres. Adequate planned infrastructure is being provided for to cater to the requirements of the occupants of the RGCTP.

Wipro is expected to set up a state-of-the-art campus at the RGCTP Phase II which would provide employment to a large number of engineers and other professionals.

Wipro had earlier applied formally to the Administration for the land after discussions were held between the Administrator and Mr Azim Premji.

Wipro is expected to begin construction shortly after the formal allotment and sanction of building plans. This would provide a big boost to software exports from Chandigarh. Ancillary level employment in large numbers would also be provided as a result of the advent of such companies to the RGCTP.

A large number of companies are likely to show interest in Phase II of the RGCTP following Wipro’s entry as the anchor company. A few other leading companies have already applied to the Administration for land in the second phase of the RGCTP.

In Phase I, which has already been accorded Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status by Government of India, the Department of IT, Chandigarh Administration, had recently sought applications for more Build to Suit sites, following the successful allotment of nine such sites to eligible companies earlier.

A total of 25000 professionals are expected to find employment at the RGCTP within the next three years. The Prime Minister had inaugurated the RGCTP in September 2005 following which 500 professionals have already started working there, and another 2500 are expected to be added by June this year.



Readers Write
Road killings in Chandigarh

Not a single day passes when two or three persons are not killed in Chandigarh and around. Most of the accidents occur due to human error and hence avoidable. What is disturbing is the fact that people are increasingly losing traffic sense. A person in control of a motor vehicle becomes very callous and intolerable. People do not care too hoots about traffic rules while driving. Overspeeding, jumping red lights, wrong entry, helmetless driving etc are very common. Through this very letter I just want to urge the general public to be tolerant while driving and drive sensibly because human life is very precious. The government too needs to come up with more strict laws and traffic awareness programmes to improve the situation.

P.L. Sethi, Patiala

Set up traffic safety teams

Hardly a day goes without the morning papers reporting multiple fatal road accidents in Punjab, Chandigarh and areas around, up to Kharar, Zirakpur, Derabassi, Ambala and Kalka. The same stereotype heart-rending and gut-churning hit-and-run cases of heavier/speedier-recklessly driven vehicles, knocking down the smaller-not cautiously driven vehicles, are reported with the driver fleeing from the site, the truck getting impounded and the injured being first taken to a nearby hospital, wherefrom referred to the PGI and finally declared brought dead or succumbing to injuries in the hospital.

In disciplining traffic, the action of the traffic police at present is primarily punitive and that has not been able to arrest the rising rate of accidents. People continue to indulge in gross traffic rule violations. In fact, road safety should not be only a police subject. The job should be entrusted to multi-disciplinary safety teams consisting of personnel of the traffic police, B&R department, transport department, signalling specialists and psychologists-cum-safety counselors (to attend to monotony, fatigue and psyche factors of drivers).

The team should immediately visit the sites of serious accidents, interact with the drivers, conduct a quick on the spot fact-finding inquiry as a means to preventing a repeat of that type of accident.

Wide publicity needs to be given towards road safety measures through the electronic and print media, as well as vide documentary film advertisements. The main aim should be preventive, to condition people and places in safety and not merely punish them for traffic rule violations.

Tejinder Singh Kalra, Chandigarh

Declining standards of armed forces

Reference "Fauji Beat" column, Chandigarh Tribune, December 6, 2005, by Col Pritam Bhullar. It was shocking to read that troops were used by the Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar, to clear garbage.

No wonder today's youth does not want to pursue a career in military. Really sad also that adverse news item about the Army and to a lesser extent about the other two services appear in the media with undiminished regularity. Even a former defence minister — himself an ex-service officer — recently remarked in a seminar that he could not recognise the Army of today. Its moral standards had come down, and it was no longer a heaven of virtue, he had said.

Equally valid are the observations of Col Bhullar in the same column about the malfunctioning of the ECHS — run by the Army — jeopardising health care of thousands of ex-service personnel, particularly those in their twilight years. Needless to mention that faculties like eye sight and hearing start warning with advancing years. No succour is available through ECHS. It is next to impossible to get a hearing aid fitted through ECHS as they have made the procedure so tedious. Recently, I spent Rs 6,000 to get a hearing aid fitted from the market. It appears that ECHS is designed to give employment to unemployed doctors and other staff only.

What could be the reasons for the decay in services standards, which certainly is not in the national interest. The remedy, I feel, lies in the services top brass and the government putting their heads together before the decay crossed the point of no return to the detriment of the country and the nation.

The other suggestion is that Parliament should enact legislation delineating the rights and privileges of the members of the armed forces. Such a legislative should uphold the dignity and prestige of the forces, which symbolise the might and dignity of the state itself. Then no civic body will be able to mistake them for scavengers.

S.S. Aujla, Patiala



Passing Thru

Sunaina Kumari, president, Bowling Federation of India
Sunaina Kumari, president, Bowling Federation of India

In your opinion what is the scope of lawn bowls?

As you may be aware that lawn bowls is a compulsory sport in the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi, so the game is likely to be played by majority.

At present, how many states play this sport?

More than 10 states are already promoting this sport and by the year-end, we hope to add another five. We are going to have this sport in the 2007 National Games to be held in Ranchi.

What do you think is the strength of this sport?

The game is tough and involves an adequate exercise and since it has to be played on grass, so one is always with nature like golf. But as compare to golf, it has a little advantage, as the area required for playing is less. Also this sport is less costly and thus affordable.

How do you plan to promote this sport in this region?

We will like to start with schools, may be public schools in the beginning. There is no dearth of talent in this region and also we have enormous support of various sport lovers who want to take up this sport in their respective institutions. We also have to prepare state teams for the National Games-2007. But I will tour various places to look for setting up coaching centres in this sport.

— Arvind Katyal



New Year gift to elders
Police on call during medical emergency

Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 1
The elders living alone in the city can call the police in case of medical emergency and the cops will provide them ambulance van. The police today announced this New Year gift during meetings held with senior citizens in all three police subdivisions in the city. Police officers distributed blankets to the needy people on the occasion.

A spokesman of the police said more than 950 senior citizens attended the functions. The police officers also paid door-to-door visits in the central sub-division.

The DSP (East), Mr Vijay Pal Singh, celebrated the New Year with senior citizens in Mauli complex. The function was organised by the Senior Citizen Organization, Mauli Complex, and the police. The DSP was the chief guest on behalf of the police. Mr Amar Nath, District Food and Supply Officer, was the chairman of the function.

On this occasion 60 blankets were distributed among the needy of the area, which were mainly donated by a local resident Mr. Suresh Goyal.

Mr Jile Singh, president of the organisation informed the gathering that the administration had agreed to allot a piece of land for old-age home for the poor people of the area. He urged the elders to join their organisation to get more benefit from the administration.

DSP (South) KIP Singh said more than 300 persons participated in a function held at the Sector 38 Community Centre. The DSP told the senior citizens to feel free to call the police in case of any help. He added that the police would provide ambulance van to them and be available at any time.

TV artiste Sharan regaled the audience with his jokes and mimicry.



114 revellers challaned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 1
Despite a massive operation launched by the Chandigarh Police, several accidents involving late night revellers were reported to the police from different parts of the city.

In all the UT traffic police issued as many as 114 challans to various violators the majority of them were for over speeding. The cops set up nakas at all the strategic places. The cops issued 43 challans for over speeding, 3 for drunken driving, 6 for without helmet, 18 for high beam besides impounding 6 vehicles. The cops collected Rs 3,600 on the spot as fines.

At least three person sustained injuries after their vehicles skidded at the Sector 19 and 27 traffic lights point. The cops maintained that the accident took place due to debris lying in the middle of the road.

In another incident a portion of Sector 7, 8, 18 and 19 roundabout was damaged after a high speed vehicle collided with it. In both mishaps the police claimed that no one was injured and no complaint was filed in this regard.

However, eyewitnesses asserted that one of the injured was lying in a pool of blood before being shifted to a hospital. Though the cops insisted that the accident occurred due to debris, the eyewitness said the vehicles lost control while avoid colliding with another vehicle being driven in a rash and negligent manner.

In another incident, revelry took ugly turn, when two girls entered into a brawl in a Sector 9 discothèque over some petty issue.

The cops had to be on their toes out side the Hotel Mountview after a large number of cine fans and revellers gathered there following a rumour that films actress Katrina Kaif, Shilpa Shetty, Sunny Deol, Dharminder were present there. They were here last week for the shooting of the movie “Aapne”.



Mobile network clogged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The quickest way to send New Year greetings through SMS, proved not so fast after all. In spite of the claims made by cellphone companies about the enhancement of capacity to deal with the peak rush on the New Year, the mobile networks remained clogged.

Most people, who wanted to send SMS of New Year greetings to their friends found that their messages could not be forwarded. In many cases, the SMS reached after a few hours of having been sent.

Ms Monica Behal, a resident of Sector 18 here complained that from 11.30 pm till about 12.45 am , she was unable to send any message. “Even the calls could not be made, because of the excess traffic on the networks. In the morning, too, the network remained busy from 7. 30 am to 9 am, and it was only later that I could make calls,” she rued.

Subscribers complained that they received the SMS sent to them around midnight till 2 am.

Meanwhile, a press note by Spice Telecom said there was 2.50 crore SMS transactions on the New Year. They claimed that they were all geared up to deal with the huge volumes of SMS, therefore their subscribers did not experience network problems or congestion.



A healthy start to New Year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
With the New Year celebrations extending even today, the city residents welcomed 2006 in various ways. While many took the initiative of getting on to bicycles for a healthy start to the year others exchanged flowers and greetings. For a group of 40 bicycle lovers, the New Year meant a cycle trip to beautiful nooks and corners of the City Beautiful. Organised by Greentire, the happy peddlers included ML Sarin, senior advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Niti Sarin, the inspiration behind the blood donation movement, Sushanta Banerjee, manager, British Library, S.K. Sharma, manager, Haryana State Co-operative Bank and many others.

The enthusiastic participants cycled from Karuna Sadan to Sukhna Lake via Punjab Engineering College, Nayagaon, Kansal and the Open Hand. During the tour, Mr Sharma announced to launch a cycle club for the employees of Haryana State Co-operaive Bank and to organise inter-bank cycling games in Chandigarh. Also present was Pramod Sharma, co-ordinator, Yuvsatta who motivated the people to adopt the New Year resolution to ride more of bicycles and keep the city clean and stay healthy.

Florist shops in the city too experienced a windfall time as the delivery boys with bouquets remained a common sight. Prem Kumar, a florist in Sector 34, said that there was a great demand for flowers on the New Year and advance bookings were also made. He added that the sales remained high and customers kept placing the orders till late evening.

Besides flowers, the sales of cakes, dry fruit, `gajjak and rewri’ also remained high. According to Ramnath of Chawla stores, Sector 43 the gift packs of `gajjak’ were in great demand. Meanwhile, many people were glad not to face the office blues on New Year day. People also exchanged the New Year wishes on the telephone and mobile phones.



Baba Farid council donates blood
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 1
The office-bearers of the Baba Sheikh Farid Blood Donors Council (regd) donated blood at the blood bank here today on the occasion of New Year.

The president of the council, Ms Jaswant Kaur, and her husband, Mr Balwant Singh, donated blood for the 47th time while their daughter, Mandeep Kaur, donated blood for the 15th time. Mr Hakam Singh Jawanda, general secretary of the council, donated blood for the 38th time while his wife, Sarabjit Kaur, donated blood for the 16th time. Mr S.S. Barnala, chief adviser, donated blood for the 20th time. Mr Roshan Singh, Lambardar, Mohi Khurd, also donated blood for the 10th time.

According to the press secretary of the council, Mr Balwant Singh, the council has collected over 8,000 units of blood since its inception during the 46 blood donation camps.



Cold wave relents, hailstorm warning for Punjab

Chandigarh, January 1
The cold wave which gripped the North West region, finally subsided on the first day of the New Year as temperature dipped, at most places in Punjab and Haryana.

Overcast sky registered sharp increase settling at one to four degrees above normal. However, cold winds continued to sweep across Himachal from the snow-capped mountains of tribal districts.

The weather office here has sounded a warning for the farmers of Punjab as certain parts of the state were likely to be lashed by hail storm accompanied by light to moderate rain in the next 36 hours. Winds at the speed of 45 km per hour are also likely to sweep across the border state that could renew cold wave conditions.

The weather office forecast snow in the higher region and light to moderate rain in the lower regions of the state. Light rain has also been predicted for parts of Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The minimum temperature in Punjab rose by one to four degrees with Amritsar recording 7.6° Celsius (four above normal) a rise of four degrees. In Ludhiana the minimum temperature also rose by four degrees to settle at 7.5°C, one degree above normal. Patiala registered a minimum of 8.2 degrees. Sudden rise of four degrees from yesterday.

In Haryana, Ambala registered a minimum of 7.9°C, one degree above normal while in Karnal the minimum temperature settled at 6.9°C. In Hisar the minimum temperatures further rose to 11.3°C (six above normal) from yesterday’s 8.8°C.

In Himachal despite the cloudy weather persisting for the second consecutive day, the minimum temperatures rose at most places with Shimla registering 3.4°C, one degree above normal. The most noticeable rise in temperatures was at Bhuntar in Kulu district where the minimum rose to 3.2°C minus 0.2°C while Sundernagar recorded a minimum of 5.1°C, a rise of four degrees from yesterday.

Despite drop of one degree in minimum temperatures at Chandigarh, the Union Territory and its adjoining areas remained free from morning fog. The minimum temperature here settled at 7.0°C which was normal.

Though the region remained free from fog, trains on the Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Jammu sections continued to run late by two to four hours. The road traffic, however, remained unaffected. — UNI



HUDA to develop industrial areas
Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) hopes to finally develop its industrial areas by introducing the new Estate Management Procedure. The procedure has been recently approved by HUDA in its meeting held on December 29.

Under the new procedure, no industrial plot allottee can transfer his plot before having completed 25 per cent construction, and initiating commercial production till a minimum of one year. Even the person, on whose name the plot is transferred, will have to start and continue production for a year, before he can re-sell the industrial plot.

Also, the allottee will have to undertake commercial production for a project that he got approved from HUDA. He cannot change the project without approval from the Industries Department. Officials in HUDA, however, inform that these conditions need not apply in case of transfer of the plot from a person to his legal heirs, after death.

This is the first time that HUDA has initiated its own industrial policy. Till date the industrial policy of the state was being implemented in HUDA Industrial Areas. Earlier, the industrial plots could be transferred after 25 per cent construction on the plot.

The new procedure adopted by HUDA will go a long way in developing the Industrial Area here. Though the Industrial Area — both Phase I and II — were developed by HUDA over two decades ago, it has failed to come up to expectations. Of the 900 industrial plots spread over two phases, only 300 are operational as of now. With rising real estate prices, most of the allottees are keeping the plots for speculation.

Most of the developed industrial plots are being misused and instead of manufacturing units, hardware and furniture shops, textile and garment retail outlets, schools, a career academy, computer training institutes and even gymnasium are operational here.

In several plots, where a manufacturing unit is operational the plot allottees have further rented out space in their plots for running more than one business venture. This inspite of the fact that HUDA norms for allotment clearly specify that only one unit can run in a plot.

Mr Satish Gupta, president, Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry: This is a good step to increase the industrial production and promote economic activity in the industrial area developed by HUDA .

Mr S.S. Goel, general secretary, Panchkula Industrial Association: There is not much change in the Estate Management Procedure, but it will definitely give a fillip to industry in Panchkula. Also, speculation on industrial plots will be curbed to a great extent. The government should also consider our demand for allowing tenants in the plots and allow us to change industrial projects on own.



Ex-servicemen seek separate pay panel for armed forces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
In view of the vast difference between the service conditions of civilian government employees and the uniformed personnel, ex-servicemen have reiterated their demand for a separate pay commission for the armed forces.

In a letter written to the Defence Minister, the Ex-servicemen’s Grievance Cell has pointed out that defence persons are facing discriminations and gross neglect, which could be due to political reasons, outdated rules or a corrupt system. The government is yet to announce the Sixth Pay Commission, whose recommendations will be applicable from January 1, 2006.

The letter adds that the civilian leadership and bureaucracy in the country has no exposure to life in the armed forces. This ignorance, coupled with “arrogance,” is the root of injustices being faced by the services.

A separate pay commission, the letter states, is the only answer to the problems faced by armed forces personnel and ex-servicemen. The United Kingdom, for example, has a separate pay commission for the armed forces whose recommendations are binding upon the government, it adds.

The letter also lists out 22 differences between the service conditions and remunerations of armed forces and civilian government employees.

Primary among them are restrictions on fundamental rights, vast variation in place and timings of duty, high risk to life, prolonged separation from family and constant movement.

Early retirement in armed forces, disparity in pay and allowances and pension rules, lack of post-retirement rehabilitation and inability of a large number of serving personnel to exercise their fundamental right to franchise are other issues highlighted in the letter.



Enthusiasm marks nagar kirtan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
Hundreds of devotees from the town and villages participated in a nagar kirtan organised today in various parts of the town.

The kirtan was organised before the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. It started from the Nadda Sahib gurdwara and went across various parts of the town.

Almost 100 trucks and trolleys carrying devotees moved around the town. Panj Piyaras, gatka artistes and a band accompanied the devotees. A beautifully decorated palanquin, carrying the Guru Granth Sahib followed the Panj Piyaras. The devotees sang gurbani and performed kirtan. The gurdwaras in various sectors and several other social organisations organised tea and chhabeels for the devotees.

Members of the Social Seva Society led by Mr Tejinder Pal Singh showered flowers and sprinkled perfumed water all the way. The devotees also lighted crackers.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements and PCR vehicles accompanied the nagar kirtan. The nagar kirtan lasted for almost 10 hours and passed through Sectors 2, 4, 12, 11, 15, 16, 10, 9, 8, 7, Old Panchkula, before culminating at Nadda Sahib gurdwara at around 7 p.m.



Implement PWD Act, demand disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Members of the National Handicapped Welfare Council today organised a meeting to express resentment against the non-implementation of the PWD Act.

Present on the occasion was Ms Lalita Mittal, chairperson of the women wing and president of the Delhi unit, said that no welfare measures had been taken by the Central and state Governments for the physically challenged and visually impaired women of the society. She stressed the fact that sincere and concrete steps should be taken for the implementation of the welfare schemes for the less privileged.

Also present was Mr S.S. Shukla, chairman of a visually disabled organisation and secretary of the Haryana unit. He said that even after a decade the provisions as contained in the PWD Act had not been implemented.

Ajay Sharma, a Punjab Government employee, demanded that disabled employees should be given conveyance allowance of a minimum Rs 1,000.

The present members also demanded that the government should constitute committees to review the outcome of the PWD Act. Also a separate directorate should be set up in every state. In addition to this free medical aid and easy loans should also be extended to them, they urged.



Protest against LPG shortage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Resident Welfare Association, Dadu Majra, today staged a protest in front of Pranam gas agency, Sector 38 West, against the shortage of LPG cylinders. The residents stated that the LPG cylinders were not being delivered at their residence in time. They were also not being allowed to collect them from godown.

The protest was led by Narinder Chaudhary, general secretary, Resident Welfare Association. In a statement issued by him, he stated that the residents were being asked to pay Rs 50 to Rs 100 extra at the godown for an LPG cylinder which was being delivered to them at home.

He further claimed that the godown opened only for three hours in the morning, while it should be open from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. He further stated that if the practice was not stopped, they would intensify the agitation.



Army to absorb 1,200 J-K youths in TA battalions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The Army will recruit 1,200 unemployed youths from Jammu and Kashmir in the Territorial Army (TA). They will be absorbed into regular TA battalions as well as the newly raised Home and Hearth battalions.

According to an official statement, the Army has also relaxed educational standards for the candidates from matriculation to pass in Class VIII to enable them get absorbed into the mainstream.

The recruitment drive will start from North Kashmir, once a hub of militants, on January 9 and continue for five days. The next recruitment camp will be held in South Kashmir from January 17 and in Central Kashmir from January 18.



Former Deputy Director of IB dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The Intelligence community lost a stalwart when Mr H.S. Virk, former Deputy Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), died last night. He was 78. He headed IB’s operations in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh from 1980-87, the most crucial period in the history of Punjab when militancy was at its peak.

A Punjab cadre IPS officer, he spent about 30 years with the intelligence community and was associated with some of the most sensitive operations executed by the agency. He also worked in counter-intelligence and is said to have carried out the most high-profile counter-intelligence coup in the country, which involved a former Union Cabinet minister.

He was given a two-year extension in service by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. According to sources, he was also offered a position as security advisor after retirement, but he preferred a quiet post-retirement life.



Nirankari Bhavan samagam
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 1
‘The peace can be attained when one identifies himself with the God’, stated JRD Satyarthi, renowned preacher of the International Sant Nirankari Mission. He was addressing a mammoth samagam in the Nirankari Bhavan. He said everyone wanted to be riches but were left in pain and despair. Persons from all walls of life were present at the samagam..



‘Inebriated’ driver jumps red light, smashes into another car
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 1
A day after the New Year festivities, the hangover continued. In one such incident, an ‘inebriated’ motorist allegedly rammed his Maruti van into a Ford Ikon car after jumping the traffic lights at the Press Chowk, here, late this evening. However, no one was injured in this accident.

Sources in the police said the accident took place at around 9 pm, when Harnek, the driver of Maruti van (HR-03-0010), who was driving on high speed, jumped the red lights at the chowk and subsequently rammed his van into a Ford Ikon car (CH-03-H- 1812). The Ikon which was coming from Sector 9 and was on way to Sector 17 and 18 dividing road. The van was on Madhya Marg coming from Sector 26 side.

According to eyewitnesses, both the vehicles collided with such a force that they were badly damaged. The front portion of the Ford Ikon car, driven by Avinav, was completely damaged while the Maruti van suffered serious breakdown.

The police took the van driver in custody and took him to the Sector 16 General Hospital for medical examination.

A case has been registered.



Bid to kill wife, case registered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 1
In a shocking incident, a husband allegedly tried to kill his wife at the Majra village this afternoon. The police said the accused smashed the victim’s face with heavy object and strangulate her before leaving her in a semi-naked condition believing to have killed her.

SHO of the Industrial Area police station Inspector Baljit Singh Chadda said the police received the information about the incident at around 1.50 pm. A police team found the victim lying unconscious in a pool of blood and her face was blood-stained. She was semi-naked. The victim was identified later as 21-year-old Sunita.

The SHO added that some women noticed the victim lying with her face covered with blood. Shocked at the sight, the frightened women informed some villagers and they reported the matter to the police.

He further added that the face of the victim was completely smashed and her jaws were broken due to injuries caused by heavy object. There were strangulation marks found around her neck, beside other injuries. She was immediately rushed to Sector 32 Government Medical Collage and Hospital. She regained consciousness later in the day and recorded her statement to the police.

Sunita told the police that her husband Jagdish Kumar, who belongs to Pegan village in Jind district in Haryana, took her to the city in search of job. They had married about two years ago and had no child. She said her husband asked her to accompany to Makhan Majra and took her to a secluded place. He bludgeoned her face with stones and tried to strangulate her. He also put her salwar off before leaving her there considering that she was dead.

She also told the police that Jagdish was an alcoholic and womaniser.

A case of attempt to murder and outraging the modesty of a woman under Sections 307 and 354 of the IPC has been registered at the Industrial Area police station in this regard.



Three held with liquor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 1
A scooter and a motor cycle were stolen from the city while thieves decamped with a car stereo and other articles from a car in Sector 37. The police arrested three persons from different parts of the city for carrying 23 bottles of liquor illegally.

Police source said Surjit Singh of Hallomajra village was arrested from near kaccha rasta in Ram Darbar and Nirmal Singh of Hallomajra was held from near poultry chowk in the village. The cops seized 10 bottles of liquor each from their possession.

In a similar incident, Ravinder Kumar of Colony Number 4 was picked up from near CTU turn in Phase I, Industrial Area. The police seized three bottles of illegally liquor from his possession.

Three separate cases under the Excise Act have been registered.

Car stolen

Mr Susihda Anand Soshi of Sector 41 reported to the police his scooter (CH-01-T-8721) was stolen from parking area near the regional passport office in Sector 34 on Saturday. In another incident, Mr Pardeep Kumar of Burail village lodged a complaint to the police alleging that his motor cycle (CH-03-S-9880) was stolen from his residence during the Friday night.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Stereo stolen

Mr Bhajanpreet Singh of Sector 37 reported to the police alleging that a car stereo and other article were stolen from his car parked outside his residence on Friday night. A case has been registered.



Son-in-law held for murder
Tribune News Service

Banur, January 1
With the arrest of her son-in-law, the local police today claimed to have solved the murder of a 70-year-old widow Surinder Kaur, who was killed on the intervening night of December 23 and 24.

According to sources, Major Singh Khatauli, the son-in-law, confessed that he had killed the widow in connivance with her three other sons-in-law and another person.

The police said Surinder Kaur had recently sold 10 acre of land in Hadiatpura village, near here, for Rs 1.5 crore. She had also agreed to buy land measuring 8 acres near Samana in Punjab. The agreement was entered in the name of her adopted son, Gurtej Singh as the widow did not have a son. However, Gurtej, a minor, was not yet legally adopted by the widow.

And with a view to usurp the property of the widow, the suspects, Major Singh Khatauli, Major Singh Rattanheri, Jaswant Singh and Gurbaksh Singh hatched a conspiracy to kill her. On the night of the crime, the four, along with another person, came to the widow’s house in Hadiatpura village and strangled her to death, the local SHO, Mr Paramjit Singh Virk, added.



1 kg charas seized
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 1
The local police today arrested one person while allegedly carrying 1 kg of charas from Naya Gaon village. In a separate incident, the police held a resident of Naya Gaon on the allegations of possessing eight bottles of liquor illegally.

Giving details of the seizure of charas, sources in the police said acting on a secret information, a police team nabbed a Jammu resident, Imran Joseph (22) from Naya Gaon village.

The search of the accused led to recovery of 1 kg of charas. A case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act has been registered in this regard.

The police officers investigating the matter revealed that cops are questioning interrogating the accused to looking for his local links and his involvement in other illegal activities. He will be produced before a local magistrate tomorrow.

In another incident, the police during a raid arrested another resident of Naya Gaon on the allegations of possessing eight bottles of liquor illegally. The accused was identified as Deepak Kumar. A case under Excise Act has been registered in this regard.



Two youths done to death
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, January 1
Two youths were allegedly done to death by certain persons and their bodies were dumped near the Ghaggar railway station, near here, yesterday.

The bodies, which bore injury marks inflicted by the sharp-edged weapons, were found by the Government Railway Police (GRP) on specific information. The deceased were later identified as Gurcharan Singh, of Mor Thikri village, near here, and Rajesh Kumar, of Sunder Pura village in Jind district.

Investigations showed that they were tortured before being killed as was evident from injury marks on arms, waist and the forehead. However, the motive of killing could not be known immediately.

Both friends had left on their motor cycle on December 30 at around 9.30 a.m. from Dera Bassi. On a specific information, a GRP team comprising Mr Karnail Singh, SHO of the GRP station, Patiala, and Mr Ram Pal, in charge of the GRP post, Lalru, visited the site and took the bodies under possession.

The bodies had been sent to AP Jain Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for post-mortem. The motor cycle and the mobile phones of the deceased had gone missing.

Sources said a GRP team headed by Mr Pritam Singh, DSP (Administration), Patiala, had been formed to probe the incident. The police was exploring all possibilities, including the personal enmity angle. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the police was conducting raids to apprehend the culprits.

A case under Sections of 302,201 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.


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